Thanks to its geographical position, Lake Como  developed a diverse and profound culture, which in every epoch has made the most of wisdom gained from contact with a great variety of populations, thereby stimulating the creation of many fascinating works of art.

The lake, together with its network of ancient Roman roads such as the Antica Strada Regina and  the Sentiero del Viandante (the Wayfarer’s Trail), overlooked by towers and castles, was the route  for trade and exchange of culture between Como and the area north of the Alps. The Lake Como area has a great variety of landscapes dotted with settlements and towns that are a testimony of human creativity: splendid villas immersed in centuries-old parks, architectural examples of extraordinary artistic and religious value, archaeological findings and ancient settlements,  fortifications and castles. Historic and cultural treasures are kept in a variety of museums.


Villa Carlotta – Tremezzo

The villa, the stairway and the landscaped garden were built for the Clerici family towards the end of 1600. Later it became property of Count Sommariva, who partially modifi ed the style of it under neoclassical infl uence, and after that it passed to Princess Marianna of the Netherlands, who gave it to her daughter Carlotta as a wedding present. Inside there is a significant museum that collects statues, paintings and original neoclassical furniture, amongst valuable sculptures by Antonio Canova and canvases by Francesco Hayez. On the second floor there are eighteenth century decorations and rooms with period furnishings. In the garden it is possible to admire trees and plants coming from every part of the globe: citrus arbours, mighty camelia hedges, austral arbored fern, palms, tropical plants, rare centennial conifers and bamboo collections. In springtime (April-May) it is possible to see an incredible azalea flowering of which there are circa 150 varieties at the villa. From the gardens and the terraces of the villa the view looks out to the centre of the lake, Bellagio, the Grigne and the Legnone.
Tremezzo – Via Regina 2b – Phone No. +39 0344 40405 – Fax +39 0344 43689 –

Villa del Balbianello – Lenno

On the Lenno headland there is the breathtaking Villa of the Balbianello, built in 1700 on the orders of Cardinal Durini, incorporating an ancient monastery. Today it is property of the FAI (Italian National Trust) This is one of the most stunning corners of the lake. The wonderful panoramic lodge overlooks Bellagio and the Comacina island. On the highest floor of the property there is a unique museum exhibiting the art collections and travel memoires of the former owner, explorer Guido Monzino, who was passionate about expeditions and a man of great knowledge. In his will the villa was left to the Fondo per l’ Ambiente Italiano (Italian Environmental Foundation) as a testamentary legacy.
The garden is characterized by terraces and balustrades and accurately follows the shape of the rugged ground, formed by steep rocks in some points it is more and milder, more gentle slopes in others. Località Balbianello – Phone No. +39 0344 56110 –

Villa Serbelloni – Bellagio

Built in 1605 and located in the high part of Bellagio this villa belongs to the Rockfeller Foundation that utilizes it for conferences and studies. The big park is accessible to the public and occupies a great part of the headland with pathways that last for almost 18 kilometres. It is possible to see cypress and olive trees mainly, hedges that outline the terraces and the geometrically landscaped flowerbeds. The views overlook the two arms of the lake, with views of extraordinary beauty. You can admire the gardens of Villa Serbelloni from April to October joining a guided tour at 11.00 and 15.30. The visits are cancelled in case of bad weather. Groups have to book in advance.
Bellagio – Phone No./Fax +39 031 951555/031 950204 –

Villa Melzi – Bellagio

On the lakeshore in Bellagio, this villa was built for Duke Francesco Melzi d’Eril and today is still a private property. The project was given to the architect Giocondo Albertolli and the works were carried out between 1808 and 1810. The spectacular garden is open to the public for visiting. It was achieved by adapting the ground with terraces and rises, adding tropical and exotic essences, valuable sculptures among which stands the famous group with Dante and Beatrice, a Moorish temple and a Japanese pond. Even the “orangerie” is today transformed into a small museum and you can also visit the family chapel.
Bellagio – Via Melzi d’Eril, 8 – Phone No. +39 339 4573838 –

Villa Monastero – Varenna

It is an ancient convent and a patrician residency.
The garden is rich in exotic plants, with statues, little temples and balustrades. The name of the Villa comes from the ancient Cistercian monastery of Saint Mary, probably founded in 1200. In 1567, the monastery was suppressed by the cardinal Federico Borromeo and was transformed into a private mansion. From 1953 the Villa hosts scientific, administrative and cultural courses and meetings, today managed by the Province of Lecco.